The Airing of Grievances
Friday, October 08, 2004
A Thought For Tonight
On today's edition of ABC News' The Note (which, by the way, is a daily must-read), this paragraph sparked a thought:
Per ABC's Kate Snow, the president will focus on Kerry's record, seizing on any moments that can be used to paint Kerry as a flip-flopper in order to widen the "commander-in-chief gap," as the Wall Street Journal puts it today. He has studied tapes of the first debate and will "try to be less expressive when reacting to Kerry's mischaracterizations," as one senior adviser quips to Snow.Back in 2000, one of the things that killed Al Gore was his chameleon-esque habit of changing personalities in each debate, based on the negative feedback received from prior debates. It turned people off and made him seem like an inconsistent, desperate panderer with a tinge of multiple personality disorder. Bush, as he usually does, was consistent in his demeanor and carried the day, even when Gore was winning debates on substance. Before last Thursday, I read a piece, can't remember where, urging Kerry to not make Gore's mistakes and to stick with whatever demeanor he exhibited at the first debate. If the lights were too hot and you get sweaty, get thee to a steam room before the second and third debates and get sweaty.
Well, guess what? The Boy King is in an extremely vulnerable position tonight and he has no choice but to change his comportment. My guess is he'll try to counter the detrimental effects of the "petulant child" perception from the first debate with some of the tough-talking, swaggering, fake-Texas-shit-kicker act that he does so well. All Kerry has to do is keep the mojo from Debate #1 working, put forth his broader knowledge of the issues and the facts, keep his cool and not get sucked into a pissing contest.
Guess #2 is that Bush overplays his hand, tries to go for the jugular, and either goes too negative or gets faced by a Kerry haymaker, and Kerry all but wraps it up tonight.